Washington representatives of independent auto repairers are pleased with the Senate introduction of a bill to guarantee them access to diagnostic equipment and service information from original equipment manufacturers.
The Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act was introduced in the Senate June 13, about a year after its appearance in the House of Representatives.
The bill requires the Federal Trade Commission to write and enforce rules requiring disclosure of ``all information necessary for the proper diagnosis, service and repair of a vehicle in a timely, affordable and reliable manner.''
Not only do motorists benefit from the automotive aftermarket, stated the preamble to the bill, but also the U.S. economy benefits from the aftermarket industry, which accounts for 495,000 businesses, more than 5 million workers and $200 billion in annual sales.
Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., agreed to sponsor the bill after meeting with a delegation of repair shop owners from Minnesota under the aegis of the Automotive Service Association.
``This legislation is proof positive that what is good for small business is good for the consumer,'' Mr. Wellstone said in an ASA press release. ``The last thing America needs is another industry where all the little guys, the small, independent businesses, are driven out.''
The bill has been assigned to the Senate Commerce Committee.
To date there has been little action on the House version of the bill, though the ASA won a number of new sponsors for it during its April meeting in Washington.
The association also is working on getting the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and most of its members to honor letters of intent they signed last fall to provide independent auto technicians with all the diagnostic tools and service information they need.